A Proposal for Spiritists Within and Outside Brazil

spiritism

First of all, let me note that in this text I am presenting my personal perspective on Spiritism. Let me also note that this text is addressed to people of all nationalities, although primarily focused on the American public with which I have more direct contact. With these two basic parameters clarified, let me then mention that I consider myself an areligious free-thinker. The practice of rational spirituality based on Christ’s moral values (which are not religious values) and a lucid and disciplined sense of scientific exploration interests me more than the blind adherence to dogmas. It was and still is in this framework that Spiritism presents itself as a divine gift, allowing me to be a scientist of the spirit and understand my place in the universe. By pulling out the roots of materialism, mysticism and dogmatism out of the knowledge once restricted to religions, it creates the base that every spiritualist should know for further exploration. The spirits have multiple times over the centuries told us that knowledge is spread all over the Earth and continue to encourage us to study. It is thus my understanding that by studying this knowledge that has been sowed throughout all lands and cultures we demonstrate our fraternity, lucidity and freedom. It is by advancing the science of the visible and invisible that we honor the legacy of Allan Kardec. It is only when collaboration among all peoples takes place that Spiritism will have fulfilled its mission; uniting us all through true Christian values (and here, I am not talking about adoration of Christ, but the practice of the ethical values he taught and practiced).

In our present state of spiritual and moral development, it is not reasonable we expect to have final answers to complex questions. This also applies to Spiritism. As multiple other Sciences, Spiritism isn’t the end, but only a mean of exploration of our internal and external worlds. Spiritists around the world, then, should not focus only in learning its present Brazilian version – which, by the way, is quite different than the original Spiritism developed in France by Allan Kardec (if you can’t tell the differences, you must study more!). Spiritists around the world then should learn the Spiritist Method, its basic concepts and rationale and use this knowledge to explore new niches of wisdom still untouched. How much has the Spirit of Truth and a multitude of other evolved spirits sowed in your own culture? Did good spirits only inspire Spiritist mediums, scientists, writers, etc.? We need to think Spiritism not as a painting on the wall, showing only one image, created decades or centuries ago, and that now requires constant restoration to continue to show some of its original splendor. No, we need to think Spiritism as a window that allows us to explore the entire cosmos.

So, can we study the works of Edgar Cayce or Barbara Ann Brennan in light of Spiritism? How about Arthur Conan Doyle, William Denton, William Walker Atkinson, Charles Leadbeater, Karl Popper, Rupert Sheldrake, Amit Goswami, and so many others. I have to be very honest at this point. So many Spiritists in the U.S., where I presently live, wish more Spiritist books originally written in Portuguese were translated to English. This is fair and understandable, however, how many American Spiritists (again, arguments and ideas here presented can be extended to all nationalities) have read and understood the basic books of Allan Kardec, all already translated to English? How many have read and understood the books from Chico Xavier dictated by André Luiz, also to the most part already available in English? Just those books are sufficient to provide a solid Spiritist foundation and provide the appropriate tools for further exploration. Then, why shouldn’t Spiritists study the spirit communications, ideas and research developed in their land not necessarily under a Spiritist perspective? Who are the scientists the spirits are inspiring nowadays? Where are them and what is their science? Listen, my friends, Spiritism is not a painting to hang on the wall, but window to explore the universe!

Do you happen to know the work of Edith Fiore, an American psychologist who emphasizes the importance of the aura to good health? She notes that the aura is for the emotional, mental and spiritual dimension of an individual just as the immunologic system is for the physical body. Isn’t it intriguing? So, what led her to arrive at those conclusions? How does this fit with the current Spiritist knowledge? Yes, you have much to learn with Brazilians, but you also have much to teach. In fact, so does the rest of this planet. If Brazil has the potential to be the heart of the world, what is the heart without a brain? More or less the same as a brain without heart, as both would be limited and impaired – therefore the need (and beauty) for collaboration.

To conclude, let me note that the Spiritist method is discussed here (https://oregonspiritistsociety.com/2017/06/10/spiritist-method/) and propose that more Spiritists dedicate their time to make sound analysis of relevant authors, thinkers and researchers in light of Spiritism. What is the objective support of their theories? If correct, what would be the consequences of such ideas to Spiritism? Could and should Spiritist groups work in partnership with research centers? How can we recover the Science that once was the cornerstone of Spiritism? We need scientists of the cosmos (internal and external)! To what extent can you say you contribute to this work?

If you liked this post, watch the youtube video we created with a similar and relater content:

Love, peace and light to all!

Psychic Self-Defense in Multiple Relationship Domains

psychic domains

Important preliminary point: People’s minds do not operate on their own, but in network. Our intellectual life takes place in a network that involves multiple intelligences (human being in physical and non-physical forms) in vibrational resonance. We are constantly surrounded and interacting with other intelligences that harmonize with us at some level. They are drawn to us due to common interests, desires, experiences, ties from the past, etc. The invisible world exerts significant influence upon us, good and bad. So common is this influence that we can say we are all mediums, just in different degrees of awareness and intensity of the phenomena. Our virtues, good intentions and efforts in a moral path connect us with intelligences aligned with such energies. Our vices, evil inclinations, flaws of character and rebellious behavior connect us with intelligences that align with such vibrations and allow them to influence us. Therefore, the most important aspect of our spiritual practice is in the moral realm (and any spiritual practice devoid of a moralizing factor can be considered dead and flawed). This is why Jesus advised us to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves”. The depth of such statement can’t be summarized in a few words, but we’d like to highlight the following aspects: 1. Know yourself. 2. Strive to love yourself to your highest potential. 3.  Because you love yourself, strive to rid yourself from all flaws of character you identify within yourself. 4. Love all other God’s creations to the limit of your ability.

“459. Do spirits influence our thoughts and actions? ‘They often direct both; their influence is greater than you suppose, for very frequently it is they who guide you.’ ” [1]

If the elements covered above are clear to you, we can now proceed to exploring our relationship with non-physical intelligences to a higher degree. Where do they come from?  How can they help or harm? How their influence fit in the perspective of inner reform, awakening to a spiritual life and contribution to the development of Earth?

Life exposes us to multiple forms of relationships. Relationships are critical to our development as each person with whom we interact work as a mirror of ourselves. In this sense, healthy relationships reflect our internal harmony and unhealthy relationships reflect our internal conflicts and dissatisfactions. While we are influenced by all relationships to some degree, some of them receive more of our own energy, dedication, time, etc. Our level of involvement, intimacy, vested interest and exposure naturally provide them a characteristic and proportional psychic intensity (strength, lasting effect, probability and nature of multiple psychic influences). In other words, where we spend most of our energy and time is also where we are probably most exposed to psychic influences and where those influences maintain the stronger and more lasting connection with us (psychic intensity). The nature of such influences will depend on our moral inclinations and the direction we give to our though and will – good or bad.

For instance, consider our life in society. We are influenced by our culture, customs, language, etc. In the society where we express ourselves, we have a good idea of what is accepted, rejected, supported or disdained in multiple situations. In many situations, however, we might feel like we don’t really need to care about people’s opinions regarding what we do or think. This is a clear indication that the societal domain typically has a low psychic intensity. Unless we gather their contact information, we might not re-encounter someone we talked to at a park or in a leisurely day at the beach. This is the same from an invisible perspective, so that most likely the intelligences (incarnated or discarnate) we interact with today in the societal relationship domain won’t be seen again tomorrow or ever. Relationships in the societal domain can be described as casual.

“Question 767. Is absolute isolation contrary to the law of nature? ‘Yes, since man instinctively seeks society, and since all men are intended to help forward the work of progress by aiding one another.’

Question 770. What is to be thought of those who live in absolute seclusion in order to escape the pernicious contact of the world? ‘The life of such persons is doubly selfish. In avoiding one evil, they fall into another, since they forget the law of love and charity.’” [1]

Now, consider our professional environment. This is already a much different relationship domain, with stronger psychic strength. In the professional domain, we are typically expected to attend specific physical locations where work takes place and interact regularly with the individuals whom are there. Because of the higher frequency of interaction, time of exposure, vested interest and energy spent in this environment, the relationships we maintain in this domain have a much stronger influence and impact over our psyche. We are more careful on our approach in this domain. Things we just wouldn’t care about in a societal relationship domain, when affecting the professional relationship domain might matter a lot more! For instance, some people might not care about screaming at someone in a traffic jam or being disrespectful somehow – but if we then learn that the person we interacted with is a co-worker, then things get a little different, isn’t it? Some people here in Oregon, for instance, enjoy attending to nudist sites. But how does it sound bumping into a co-worker there? Yeah, chances are it is not that cool! So, if we are clear about those two domains, let’s insert a new one into this picture. Let’s call it friendship circles. In this domain, relationships start getting more personal. We might not spend the same time we do at work with friends, but friends are people we get to know more intimately and that know us more deeply too. We typically have something in common with our true friends. In other words, we are in energetic or vibratory resonance with them – and naturally might harmonize with their invisible influences too. We are more opened to being ourselves around friends. In a professional setting, people are typically careful about the ideas and opinions shared. Among frinds, this is remarkably different. The emotional connection in this relationship domain is stronger, promoting an environment of safety and trust.

Continuing the logic developed thus far, we can now explore the relationship domain here described as the extended family. This domain is composed of those individuals connected by ties of family but that do not participate on the same household. We can change country, state, city, address. We can change jobs and friends, but family will always be family. It is true that the psychic intensity maintain with certain family members might not be as strong as perhaps some of a professional nature, but if a regular relationship is maintained, then there is a lasting factor of the family bonds that shouldn’t be neglected. In any case, the central point we are developing in this text is that different relationships have different psychic intensities. The relationship domains explored here are not supposed to be applicable in all case, but just theoretical frames of references that allow us to understand the logic of spiritual influences. The final relationship domains we’d like to note are the conjugal life and our relationship with ourselves. None of the former relationship domains noted here have the intensity, the lasting factor, the depth of intimacy and the demand of love and moral virtues observed in the conjugal life (assuming this relationship is taken seriously by the partners, of course). But if love partners have a deep bond established among them, no relationship can be as profound as that we have with ourselves. This is why most psychic influences happens within and affect our household environment and our relationship with ourselves – therefore the importance of knowing ourselves cannot be underestimated.

We hope that at this point it is abundantly clear that the multiple relationship domains we maintain have different levels of psychic intensity according to their own nature. This means, we are more likely to suffer spiritual obsessions (or spiritual attacks) coming from our family circles than from that leisurely day at the beach. This also means we will have more conflicts coming from our family circles that from that leisurely day at the beach… We should also not ignore such conflicts and simply focus on peacefully enjoying that leisurely day at the beach. Doing so would be a waste of time and an escape from the urgent need for inner reform. Remember, relationships are mirrors of ourselves and conflicts that are painful to us typically indicate something we have to revise within ourselves. But, just in case, let’s be a little clearer on this point. We are not instigating you to pick fights and engage in conflict. We are simply suggesting that our spiritual development only takes place when we successfully manage the conflicts within them – with love and maturity. A spiritually developed person is only that who can bring peace where there was anger and warmongering; hope where there was only despair and delusion, and light where a blinding darkness prevailed.

In a previous post from our site (“What is the measure of your spiritual wisdom?”), it was mentioned that the measure of our spiritual development is related to the quality and impact of our influence in the environments with which we engage. This influence takes place in all of those relationship domains. So what is your ability to make peace by inspiring others? What is your qualification to manage discordance with empathy, love and honesty? How much light do you bring to the multiple relationship domains you maintain? Are you inspired by a network of intelligences working for the common good of the cosmos or those that simply inspire you to do whatever is best for your own self-interest? Are you defending privileges or promoting a world of freedom and equal access to opportunities?

In order to develop adequate psychic self-defense, it is critical that we understand our personal goals in each of those domains. Where are we doing well, where are we failing. What do we want to achieve in each of them, and why. What to watch for and how/when to contribute. Start with your relationship with yourself and work your thoughts up to your relationship with your spouse, family, workplace and society. Remember that a consequence of operating in a network means that if we don’t know what we want, defend and care about – then other intelligences will fill the void. Therefore, it all starts by knowing who we are and what we stand for. If we don’t have a working compass for our relationship with ourselves, then most likely our other relationship domains won’t be functional either.

If we trust the spiritual realm has plans to bring peace and order to our world, than know that we are right, but they depend on human hands – which actually live in this world to do the job. They do this by inspiring those of us who want to learn to face conflict and transform ourselves. They understand that external changes can only be a natural consequence of internal reforms (see our post “Inner light to a brighter future”). We are their mediums, all of us who seek to change and make change. But, more than ask for change, we must be the change we want to see. Be the change, not forgetting that it starts with us, our relationships with those who are most dear to us, and so on… before impacting the whole of society. So, again, what positive impact are you making to yourself? How about your spouse or significant other? Family? Friends? Are you contributing to their development? Are you learning with your conflicts in those relationship realms? Are you inclined to peace, love, freedom, trust and good on them? Or you seek to dominate, dictate what’s right and wrong, acceptable or not, expected or not. Are you coherent with what you defend? Are your actions coherent with your speech and is your speech coherent with your mind? Are your head and hands occupied? Do you ONLY and ALWAYS employ words for good? How malicious and futile is your mouth? Do you fear silence and need to find ways to distract your mind (with alcohol, narcotic drugs, loud music, work stuff, sports, etc.)? Do you demand from others more than from yourself? Do you suppose the annoyances from others only indicate changes they need to make? Do you take others as ungrateful or evil? Are you easily influenced by money, power, fame or the need for appreciation and recognition? One more: do you know who you are and what you stand for? The following section has been extracted from The Gospel According to Spiritism, from Allan Kardec for being a remarkable good reference for moral development and psychic self-defense. Peace, love and much work to all!

 

Moral Persons [2]

Truly moral persons are those who practice the law of justice, love and charity in its greatest purity. If they question their conscience about their actions, they ask themselves if they have violated this law; if they have done any evil; if they have done all the good they could; if they have willingly disregarded any opportunity to be useful; if anyone might have a complaint about them; and, finally, if they have done unto others everything they would like to have done unto themselves.

They have faith in God, and in God’s goodness, justice and wisdom. They know that nothing happens without God’s permission, so they submit to the Divine Will in everything.

They have faith in the future; thus, they place spiritual possessions above temporal ones.

They know that all the vicissitudes of life, all its sorrows and all its disappointments are trials or expiations, and they accept them without complaining.

Persons imbued with the sentiment of charity and love for their neighbor do the good for its own sake without expecting anything in return, and they repay evil with good, defend the weak against the strong and always sacrifice their own interests to the interests of justice.

                They find their satisfaction in the benefits they spread around, the service they render, the happiness they promote, the tears they dry and the consolation they provide to the afflicted. Their first impulse is to think of others before thinking of themselves and to attend to the interests of others before their own. The selfish, on the other hand, calculate the profits and losses entailed in every generous act.

Moral persons are kind, humane and benevolent toward all regardless of race or creed, because they regard all people as their brothers and sisters.

They respect all sincere convictions that others might hold to and they do not anathematize those who do not think like they do.

In all circumstances charity is their guide; they tell themselves that those who harm others with malevolent words, who hurt others’ feelings with their pride and disdain, who do not recoil from the idea of causing suffering or difficulty, however slight, when it could be avoided, fail in their duty of love for their neighbor and do not deserve the Lord’s clemency.

They hold no hatred or rancor, or desire for vengeance. Following Jesus’ example, they forgive and forget offenses, and remember only good deeds, because they know that they will be forgiven according to how they themselves have forgiven.

They are indulgent toward others’ weaknesses, for they know that they themselves need indulgence, and they recall these words of Christ, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

They never take pleasure in searching for defects in others or in calling attention to them. If necessity forces them to do so, they always look for the good that might mitigate the evil.

They study their own imperfections and strive incessantly to combat them. All their efforts are focused on being able to say to themselves tomorrow that they are better than they were yesterday.

They do not seek to exalt their spirit or talents at the expense of others; instead, they seize every opportunity to point out what is praiseworthy in other people.

They do not gloat over their wealth or their personal advantages, for they know that everything that has been given to them can be taken away.

They use but do not abuse the possessions that have been accorded to them, for they know that they are a trust for which they will have to render an accounting, and that the worst use of them in regard to themselves would be to use them to satisfy their passions.

If the social order has placed others under their tutelage, they treat them with kindness and benevolence, because they are their equals before God. They use their authority to lift their morale and not to squash them with their pride. They avoid anything that could render their subordinates’ position more painful.

Those who are subordinate, on the other hand, understand the duties of their position and are scrupulous in consciously fulfilling them.

Finally, moral persons respect in their fellow beings all the rights arising from the laws of nature, in the same way they wish their own to be respected.

This is not a list of all the qualities that define moral persons, but whoever makes an effort to possess them is on the road that leads to all the others.

References

[1]: Kardec, Allan. The Spirits’ Book.

[2]: Kardec, Allan. The Gospel According to Spiritism.

The Spiritist Method of Study & How to Advance Spiritism Today

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Introduction

In this text, we will study what is the Spiritist Science, its Method of research and how it applies to your belief systems and your possible contributions to the emergence of spirituality free from dogmas and mysticism on Earth. In this process, we hope it will become clear that the antagonism between science and spirituality is only apparent. In our view, such antagonism stems from two factors: 1. The formal sciences reluctance to consider the existence of non-physical dimensions of nature and life, albeit sizable sum of evidence supports this idea. 2. Spiritualist and religious people’s reluctance to question and test their paradigms, entering the real of rational faith instead of blind faith. Both are trapped in their own dogmas and egoistic beliefs. Both are not prepared for the new millennia. So, if you also seek a solution for this dilemma, this text is also for you!

We live at a time when scientific research in fields such as quantum physics indicates the observer’s mind affects the result of the experiment (influence of mind over matter) and theoretical physicists work with models that predict the existence of perhaps even eleven dimensions. We live at a time when psychosomatic illnesses, physical imbalances caused by unhealthy states of mind, are seriously studied and acknowledged by at least part of the medical community. In this context, it becomes illogical, if not irrational, to continue to advocate the reduction of nature to only three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. Likewise, it is inappropriate for this modern humanity, equipped with research methods sufficiently advanced to demystify many of the mystical beliefs of the past, to continue to practice faith without reason. In fact, both science and spirituality reside together in the minds and hearts of the human beings ready for the new millennium. It is primarily for them that we write this text as only they would be able to live and appreciate Spiritism to its full potential. So, let’s start with what is Spiritism!

Spiritism is defined by its founder, Allan Kardec, as “the science that studies the origin, the nature and the destination of the spirits, as well as its relation with the corporeal world. It is at the same time a science of observation and a philosophy of moral consequences.” Compare it with a modern definition of science, such as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of an object through observation and experiment” and it becomes obvious that two elements are essential for anything that aims to be designated as science: The object and the method of study of such object, which obviously must be adequate to the nature of such object. So, if pipettes are appropriate for the study of chemistry and scalpels to the study of medical anatomy, what are the instruments appropriate for the study of the spirit? Is it impossible to scientifically study realities not observed by our five basic senses? Allan Kardec did not see this impossibility and designed the Spiritist Science applying reasoning and adapted scientific methodologies to study spiritual phenomena and the ideas proposed by multiple spirits. However, before we delve into his Method, let’s clarify a few points about Spiritism itself as to avoid possible misconceptions about it.

“Spiritism is the new Science that comes to reveal to men, through indisputable proofs, the existence and nature of the spiritual world and its relationship with the corporeal world. It shows to us no longer as a super natural thing but, on the contrary, as one of the living and restlessly acting forces of nature, like the source of an immense number of phenomena hitherto misunderstood and thus thrown to the domain of fantastic and marvelous.” (Allan Kardec, The Gospel According to Spiritism, Chap. I, item 5.)

“Spiritism is, no doubt, a Science of observation, but it is perhaps even more a Science of reasoning and reason is the only means that can make it progress and triumph over certain resistances. Such fact is only contested if it is not understood. The explanation removes all of its marvelous character, referring it to the general laws of nature.” (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1859)

“Spiritism is not a new religion as some people pretend it to be because they don’t know it, or a new sect that is formed by taking advantage of older ones. It is a purely moral doctrine with no dogmas and that allows each person the entire freedom of religion since it imposes none.” (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine – October 1861)

The Spiritist Method

Kardec was not a typical man of science. Like many of the great personalities who have revolutionized the world throughout history, he allied a rational and curious personality completed by a seemingly incorruptible character. He was not adept to any particular spiritualist line of thought, but a scientist seeking to gain scientific understanding of allegedly spiritual phenomena occurring with certain frequency in multiple parts of the globe (and only for this reason attracting his attention, or curiosity). As an ethical scientist, he remained neutral, observing the phenomena itself as the object of study and drawing conclusions only after careful consideration of relevant facts. Anyone who impartially read his books – especially The Mediums’ Book – would come to this same conclusion. This is important to note because he didn’t resort of science as a way to prove his own points, a practice unfortunately common to scientists and spiritualists. In fact, Kardec’s studies changed to a large degree his own ideas.

“I applied the experimental method to this science [Spiritism], not accepting preconceived theories. I observed carefully, compared and deduced consequences. By the deduction and chaining of the facts, I sought to raise from effects to causes, not admitting an explanation as valuable unless it could solve all the difficulties of the matter. That is how I always proceeded in my previous works since the age of 15.

I soon understood the seriousness of the task I was about to undertake, and saw on those phenomena the key to the so obscure and controversial problem of the past and the future of humankind, to which a solution I lived searching to find. It was therefore a complete revolution in the ideas and beliefs of the world. Hence, it was necessary to proceed with circumspection and not careless, to be positive and not idealistic, as not to let myself be led by illusions.” (Allan Kardec, Posthumous Works)

In developing his Spiritist studies, Kardec proceeded in the same way our “conventional” scientific studies are carried out, adopting a Method that allowed for a rigorous analysis of the reproduction of the phenomena, the logic of the theories proposed and their coherence with what can be objectively observed and with other concepts already proposed and verified. Kardec’s Method, in its thoroughness and simplicity, we venture to say, is probably the most revolutionary aspect of the doctrine itself, since most spiritual ideas proposed by Spiritism were already raised by other fields of human knowledge. Kardec, however, understood well the nature of spirit communications as an object of study and the pitfalls that the lack of a method of study could bring to Spiritist studies.

“One of the first results that I gathered from my observations was that the spirits, being nothing more than the souls of men, possessed neither the full wisdom nor the integral science; That their knowledge was confined to the degree of advance they had obtained, and that their opinion had only the value of a personal opinion. Recognized from the beginning, this truth preserved me from the grave choice to believe in the infallibility of the spirits and prevented me from formulating premature theories, based on what had been said by one or some of them.” (Allan Kardec, Posthumous Works)

If no spirit is infallible and a method of science to study Spiritism should be considered, it is of utmost importance that we explore the Spiritist Method in more detail – and that we ask whether we are preserving its considerations to date. According to J. Herculano Pires, the Spiritist Method can be summarized by:

  1. Selection of unsuspecting medium collaborators, both from a moral standpoint, and from the purity of faculties and spiritual assistance.

  2. Control of communicating Spirits, through the coherence of their communications and the content of their language.
  3. A rigorous analysis of the communications, from the logical point of view, as well as their confrontation with demonstrated scientific truths, putting aside all that cannot be logically justified.
  4. Universal consensus, that is, concordance of the various communications, given by different mediums, at the same time and in several places, on the same subject.

 

Now, let’s see if we can identify the various elements of this Method in action through Kardec’s own description of his Method applied to the analysis of the concept of reincarnation, offered by the spirits themselves:

“We repeat what we have already said about it, that when we were taught the doctrine of the reincarnation by the spirits it was so far off from our thoughts that we had envisioned a completely different system about the antecedents of the soul, system that is in fact shared by several people. Regarding this subject the doctrine of the spirits has surprised us. We go further: it contradicted us, since it knocked our own ideas down. Hence, it is far from being a reflection of those ideas. That is not all. We did not give in at the first clash. We fought back; defended our opinion; raised objections and only surrendered before the evidence and when we noticed the insufficiency of our system to solve all questions related to this issue”. (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1858)

Kardec himself was initially contrary to the idea of reincarnation. The concept proposed by the spirits forced him to consider two mutually exclusive paradigms, which he analyzed in light of reason:

“If we do not accept the plurality of corporeal existences, it would be necessary to accept that the soul is created at the same time the physical body is being formed since from two, one is correct: either the soul that animates the body at time of birth has already lived before, or it has not. Between those two hypotheses there is no middle ground; Now, from the second hypothesis, that which defends the soul did not live before, a multitude of unsolvable problems arise”. (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1862)

Among the “problems” faced when rejecting Reincarnation, Kardec pointed out:

  1. Why does the soul show so diverse aptitudes and independent from the ideas acquired by education?
  2. Where does the super-normal aptitudes towards Science and Art, in children of early age come from, while others remain mediocre or inferior their whole life?
  3. Where do the innate ideas that some present and others don’t, come from?
  4. Where do premature instincts of vices or virtues; innate feelings of dignity or inferiority, in certain children come from, contrasting with the environment where they were born?
  5. Abstraction made of education, why certain men are so more advanced than others?
  6. Why are there savages and civilized men? If you take a tribal man in his diapers and educate him in the best colleges, will you turn him into a Laplace or Newton?

 

So, let’s now summarize how Kardec dealt with information provided by the spirits that differed from his own point of view:

  • At first, he did not accept Reincarnation as a reality.
  • The spirits presented the idea of Reincarnation as a reality.
  • Kardec initially objected and argued, defending his own paradigm and collecting arguments, evidence, facts.
  • Then, Kardec considered both hypotheses in light of all evidence collected and exhaustively dialoguing with the greatest diversity of spirits possible.
  • Finally, between the two systems, the most logical and compatible with the observable objective reality prevailed.

 

This example demonstrates well how Spiritism can be understood as a “science for spiritual studies”, based on critical reasoning and logical assessments of information obtained from multiple and independent mediums, in multiple places at different times. At this point, let us be very clear that we do not advocate Spiritism as the only possible venue to study spirituality or non-physical realities.  This text simply advocates that due to its well-developed scientific methodology, Spiritism can offer a path for those who seek peace between their scientific and rational side and their spiritualized nature. Spiritism allows for a “sorting” of concepts that can withstand critical reasoning and those that do not – allowing people to continue to live and practice their spirituality at least relatively free from fantasies, vague concepts of reality, mystical ideas and dogmatism.

To support this claim, consider that the formal sciences only made important progress after their studies were based on controlled experimental methods. Why then should not spiritualist ideas be put to the test through a similar approach, so that advances can also be made in this area of ​​human knowledge? It is clear that the methods must be adapted to suit the nature of the object of study, but, after Kardec’s legacy, how will such studies be carried forward and by whom? This is the question we must address later in this text (after proper understanding of the Spiritist Method).

In the introduction to his first book, The Spirits’ Book, Kardec also notes the comments below, which are relevant to a clear understanding of the Spiritist science and some of the criticism it receives for intending to study non-physical realities under a scientific perspective. Read it considering that some scientific truths of the recent past are often seen as delusions nowadays and some of the present fiction/dreams will be explained truths in the future. Our history involves a constant evolution, with science and spirituality, both, experiencing hits and misses.

“When science goes beyond the tangible observation of facts and attempts to evaluate and explain those facts, the field is opened up to conjecture. Each individual develops a system of his or her own and they must do their utmost to relentlessly defend it. Contradictory systems are suggested and rejected every day, one right after the other, disparaged as absurd errors, and then later proclaimed as incontestable truths. Facts are the sole criterion of our judgment, the sole argument for which there is no retort. In the absence of facts, those who are wise remain skeptical.

For subjects that have been fully explored and studied, the opinions of the educated are fairly authoritative, because their knowledge is more extensive and enlightened than that of an ordinary person. However, with respect to new facts or principles or even the unknown, their opinions should only be considered hypothetical, because they are no freer from prejudice than anyone else. One can even argue that scientists are more likely to be narrow-minded than someone else, because each of them is naturally prone to look at everything from their particular point of view. A mathematician accepts no other proof than that demonstrated by algebra, while a chemist refers everything to the action of the elements, and so on. When individuals select a specialization, they usually dedicate their entire mind and efforts to it. Beyond the scope of this field, such an individual often makes false inferences because of an insistence on treating every subject in the same manner. This is the consequence of human weakness. Therefore, while we should confidently consult a chemist in matters pertaining to analysis, a physicist with regard to electricity, or a mechanical engineer about driving forces, we must grant no more authority to their unfavorable opinion of Spiritism than we should to the opinion of an architect on a matter pertaining to music. This we must do without detracting from the respect due to their special knowledge.

Physical sciences are based on the properties of matter, which may be experimented upon and manipulated as desired. In contrast, phenomena created by spirits are an effect of the action of intelligent beings who have wills of their own, and who continuously show us that they are not subjected to our whims. Therefore, observations cannot be carried out in the same manner because they require special conditions and a different point of departure. Insisting on submitting them to the same methods of investigation is to insist on assuming the existence of analogies that do not in fact exist. As a result, science is incapable of determining the truth of Spiritism. It has nothing to do with it and its conclusion, whether favorable or otherwise, is of no bearing whatsoever.

Spiritism is the result of a personal conviction that scholars may hold as individuals, and is completely independent of their scientific notions. To submit the question to the decision of physical science would be the same as appointing a group of physicists and astronomers to settle the existence of the soul. Spiritism deals exclusively with the existence of the soul and its state after death. It is completely irrational to assume that someone must be a great psychologist simply because they may be a great mathematician or anatomist. When anatomists dissect a human body, they look for the soul, and, because they do not find it through the use of their scalpels, in the same way that they find a nerve, or do not see it evaporate like gas, they conclude that it does not exist. They reach this conclusion because their reasoning stems from an exclusively material point of view.

This by no means signifies that they are right and that the rest of the world is wrong. Following this line of reason, we conclude that the task of determining the truth or fallacy of Spiritism does not fall within the realm of science. When Spiritist beliefs have become widespread and accepted by the masses, which, if estimated by the speed at which they are currently being spread, is a time not very far off, the same will apply as with all new ideas that have encountered opposition. Scholars ultimately yield to the force of evidence. They will individually admit ideas that they now reject and, until that time, it would be premature to distract them from their special studies with something that is foreign to both their school of thought and field of research.

Meanwhile, those who denounce Spiritism without having a thorough understanding of the subject, and expose to ridicule those who do not submit to their way of thinking, forget that such has been done in regard to nearly every great discovery unearthed by humankind. They run the risk of being grouped among the members of the academic assembly who, in 1752, laughed at Benjamin Franklin’s paper on lightning rods and branded it worthless rubbish; or among those who caused France to miss out on the opportunity of pioneering the use of steam in shipping by labeling Robert Fulton’s plans an impracticable dream. And yet, both of these concepts not only proved to be true, but also went on to make great contributions to humanity. If those two assemblies, which included the leading minds of the world among their members, had nothing but disdain and sarcasm for ideas that they did not understand, but which were destined to revolutionize science, industry, and daily life a few years later, how may we expect that another unfamiliar subject should be met with any greater degree of respect?

The errors of some, though unfortunate for the honor of their memory, do not invalidate our esteem in regard to other matters. Common sense is not dictated by an official diploma, and there are fools both inside and outside the walls of academic institutions. We ask our adversaries to simply glance over the supporters of Spiritism and determine whether they see only uneducated and irrational individuals, or whether, despite the immense number of respectable individuals who have accepted it, Spiritism can be regarded as an old wives’ tale. In fact, their character and scientific knowledge should inspire people to think, ‘If these persons believe in this, there must be something to it.'” (Allan Kardec. The Spirits’ Book)

Before concluding this section, it is important we consider one more excerpt, this time from the article “General Control of the Spirits’ Teachings”, published by Kardec in 1864. Here it should be highlighted the importance Kardec attributed to the spontaneity of the communication in different parts of the globe and to different, independent mediums.

“The concordance in the teaching of the spirits is, therefore, the best control; but we still need that it occurs under certain conditions. The least certain of all is when a medium himself/herself interrogates several spirits on a dubious point; it is very evident that if he/she is under the dominion of an obsession, and if he/she has business with a deceiving spirit, this spirit can tell him/her the same thing under different names. There is, no more, a sufficient guarantee of the conformity which can be obtained by the mediums of a single center, because they may suffer the same influence. The only serious guarantee is in agreement that exists among spontaneous revelations, by means of a large number of strange mediums to each other, and in various countries. It is then conceived that such communications are not concerning to secondary interests, but rather to the very principles of the doctrine. Experience proves that when a new principle should receive its solution, it is taught spontaneously on different places at the same time, and in an identical way, if not in form, at least in principle. If, then, a spirit formulate an eccentric system, based solely on its ideas and out of the truth, one can be sure that this system will be circumscribed, and will fail the test of unanimity of the instructions given by all other parties, as has already occurred many times. (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1864).

For Allan Kardec, the moral character, universality and concordance of spirit revelations confers to the Spiritist Science strength and authority. It is in the universal concord of rational and moral ideas spontaneously offered by the spirits that lies the best proof of safety of new spiritual teachings. Therefore, if adopting the same rationale, for a new concept to be admitted into the Spiritist body of Knowledge, it must be originated from teachings of multiple evolved spirits to various mediums across the world. As to identify this condition, the following criteria is proposed – offering a similar although individually conceived perspective to the criteria noted earlier on in this text and proposed by J. Herculano Pires.

  • Internal Coherence: The concept should not conflict with fundamental elements already incorporated to the Spiritist Science unless it clearly indicates a conceptual flaw admitted previously by mistake.
  • Grounded Rationality: The concept should be analyzed critically and logically in light of all observable evidence (not necessarily of material nature!).
  • Spontaneity & Universality: The concept should be obtained spontaneously by multiple and reliable mediums independent from each other and in multiple places (ideally multiple countries).
  • Verification: The concept should be verified through dialog with the greatest possible number of spirits of all degrees of advancement.

 

A Proposal for the Advancement of the Spiritist Science

The initial sections of this text were devoted to explaining the Spiritist Method and clarifying the necessary conditions that must be observed for new concepts to be assimilated into the Spiritist body of knowledge. We covered a lot of theory, and now should develop practical plans seeking to answer how Spiritism can be safely developed nowadays. Moreover, how can we, me and you – regardless of whether we are ostensible mediums, contribute to the progress of the Spiritist Science (and your spiritual development in the process)? The ideas here presented are not intended to constitute a final work proposal, but a step forward towards a further widespread practice of Spiritist studies, similar to what was maintained by Kardec at his time – and that constituted the Spiritist Science. We argue that recovering this scientific side of Spiritism protects it from natural dissolution by individual misunderstandings, misinterpretations, wrongful associations of ideas, etc. We also consider that recovering this scientific side of Spiritism allows it to continue to make safer steps forward in the human understanding of the physical and non-physical realities of the cosmos (now happening at a global scale), while ignoring it could naturally lead Spiritism to the status of a human religion and the natural consequences that it entails.

“No science exists that has come forth from a single man’s brain. All, without exception, are the result of successive observations, supported by previous observations, as in a known point, to reach the unknown. This is how the spirits proceeded, in relation to Spiritism.” (Allan Kardec, Genesis)

There was a time when religion and spirituality could be practiced through blind faith in a single book or a single person. This practice is destined to fall into shortcomings and excesses of all sorts and in our view, is not suitable for rational minds, ready to reason the causes and consequences of ideas. So, what is the spiritual practice of the awakened minds? We see it as being that of collaboration, of plurality of ideas, of humble and honest search for knowledge and inner development. This practice, however, cannot suit the flaws of character of those locked in their own pride, wishing to impose their beliefs on all and make the world cater to their needs. This practice is inadequate to those who are still constrained by sects of knowledge, closed to new paradigms and our urgent need to recycle ideas and make change. This practice is not adequate to those who do not question their own certainties. It is not adequate to those still attached to syntax rather than meaning. It is also not adequate to those who seek meaning without labor and study. This practice is for those who consciously celebrate freedom and diversity, knowing how to coexist among individuals who express opposing ideas. If alone we are tremendously limited, united we more thoroughly are able to reach the truth.

It is with this spirit of cooperation that we invite all of those inspired by this article, all of those touched by the Spiritist Science, all free thinkers and rational spiritualists to collaborate with this work. It is with the honest intention to promote progress in our understanding of the multiple dimensions of the cosmos and their intrinsic inter-dependency that we convene the rationale here exposed and it is clear to us that with the sum of additional minds this original proposal could be perfected.

Proposal

The spiritual world has offered us vast material for research in the form of thousands of books, let alone uncountable letters and messages, written through independent mediums in different places and different times. Spiritism itself has now spread through multiple countries and the internet can be used to suitably and safely (considering the proper precautions) connect us across multiple geographies. All of this material, allow us to carry out extensive studies of new concepts proposed by the spirits. This work cannot be performed by anybody or any specific group alone; it belongs to all of us and should be carried out according to the principles of collaboration and charity, thought by Jesus and incorporated to the Spiritist Science from its beginnings. No one is better than everyone! Our proposal, therefore, is that individuals and groups of individuals interested in studying the Spiritist Science (particularly those interested in writing about it or teach it) identify topics of interest and conduct studies according to the Method here proposed. It is critical that we look for the harmony of the teaching and use only primary reference sources. It is only though the universal concord of rational and moral ideas spontaneously offered by the spirits that we can safety contribute to the progress of Spiritism.

Considering this, the reader will note with a simple visit to the Oregon Spiritist Society’s website (www.oregonspiritistsociety.com) that such endeavor has been started through the development of articles published in this website. Everyone is encouraged to challenge or support the ideas and concepts there proposed, indicating new reference sources and/or any new relevant facts. Everyone is invited to develop new studies and share them with this group, so we can also contribute to such studies. As this collaborative effort progresses, new interesting ideas might be uncovered and evaluated according to the Spiritist Method, so as to be either demystified or confirmed. Individual errors of judgment can hopefully be compensated by our collective voice and the Spiritist Science can be practiced and studied on a safer landscape, especially when venturing beyond the topics brilliantly covered by Allan Kardec. The goal then is to form a network of scientists of the spirit devoted to studying the spirit communications and non-physical realities utilizing the Spiritist Method as a mean to advance this Science and prevent its loss through the irresponsible sharing of seemingly good ideas that do not pass through all the scientific boundaries established by Kardec himself for the advancement of Spiritism.

Therefore, those interested in conducting Spiritist research following the general parameters noted by this text are encouraged to contact the Oregon Spiritist Society and/or submit research material for this group’s publishing consideration on its website. Articles submitted for consideration will pass through a preliminary review by the group and if needed, other external collaborators, before being published in the group’s website for further collaboration of others. In any case, collaborators can also publish research material in their own websites, blog or any other online platform and invite us to collaborate with their content material on their platform.

We would like to conclude this article asking the reader (especially those working in Spiritist centers or often representing Spiritism in some fashion): how can you be sure you are educating others correctly regarding the Spiritist Science? Are you observing the Spiritist Method when incorporating new knowledge into your own viewpoints of the Doctrine, your texts, speeches and public communications? You are responsible for what you divulge and good intention (especially after reading this article – sorry!) alone might not be good enough. What are the standards you apply to the quality of your work? It is never enough to note that in the Spiritist Magazine of 1867, the following communication was provided as a warning that the strategy of spirits devoted to slowing down the progress of Spiritism (as a way to hamper the progress of humanity) was to dissolve Spiritism from within:

“You will see the consolidation of Spiritist meetings where the confessed aim will be the support of the Doctrine and the secret purpose will be its undoing; Supposed mediums will have the command communications appropriate to their objectives; Publications that, under the cloak of Spiritism, will strive to demolish it; Doctrines that will lend some of their ideas to Spiritism, but with the goal to supplant it. This is the struggle, the real struggle to be overcome, and that will be pursued with obstinacy [by the invisible opposition of Spiritism], but out of which the strongest will be victorious.” (Allan Kardec, Spiritist Magazine, 1867)

Therefore, if not for the development of the Spiritist Science, then for its preservation – be concerned with the quality and trustworthiness of what you share. It was considering all the elements shared in this article that we developed the proposal here presented (and it is for the same reasons that the Oregon Spiritist Society have adjusted the form of the lectures and publications it issues) – however, real progress can only be achieved through collaboration. As a simple example, Chico Xavier, one of the most trusted and celebrated mediums of recent times, has reached the count of 500 books published. Who can read all of them, compare the information with what has been shared with other mediums in other geographies and languages, make a rational analysis of the material in light of reason alone as well as in light of the Spiritist Science and write about the findings? Again, Spiritism can only progress through charity and collaboration! So, let’s talk? How can we contribute to each other?

 References

  • Pires, J Herculano. Ciência Espírita, FEESP.
  • Kardec, Allan. The Spirits’ Book.
  • Kardec, Allan. The Gospel According to Spiritism.
  • Kardec, Allan.
  • Kardec, Allan. Posthumous Works.
  • Kardec, Allan. Spiritist Magazine – multiple articles from multiple years.

 

Is Karma the Same as Cause and Effect as Presented in the Spiritist Codification?

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Basic Initial Clarifications

The objective of this article is to discuss the title’s subject matter from the standpoint of the research conducted by the author and in light of his own understanding of the Spiritist science. Therefore, all ideas here presented are not intended to reflect the Spiritist consensus on the topic, but instead, and noting again to ensure transparency on this matter, the current perspective of the author(s) of the article based on research conducted and considering the following research model:

  1. Multiple messages obtained through mediumistic means are presented and compared.
  2. The philosophy and theories developed are evaluated in light of the body of knowledge already accepted by the Spiritist science.
  3. The philosophy and theories developed are critiqued from a rational perspective and considering any objective evidence that can be used to reason their validity.

We should also indicate our intention to demonstrate that the paradigm that the Law of Karma as typically presented by common Eastern religions is not quite the same as the Law of Cause and Effect as presented by the Spiritist codification. This is often a source of confusion among Spiritists themselves, hence justifying the comparisons and explanations made here.

Anyone who would like to present evidence or logical arguments that either confirm or refute the ideas here presented is highly encouraged to do so (this is how we do Spiritist science!), as to collaborate to elevating the quality of this work. Dire to question, dire to reason your own beliefs – since unshakable truths are only those which can confront reason face to face in all epochs of humanity.

The Law of Karma

Karma is a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Taoism. According to Wikipedia (We value the use of primary sources, but have opted to resort of a wikipedia reference this time as no better primary source has been found that summarizes the concepts we aim to convey as well as the reference below):

“karma means action, work or deed. It also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in many schools of Asian religions. In these schools, karma in the present affects one’s future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives – one’s Samsara.” [1]

We should make it clear that the author of this article has limited knowledge of Eastern religions based mostly on common sense knowledge. It is possible that the common sense idea of karma is actually not in accordance to its original teaching and someone truly knowledgeable on this topic would be easily able to clarify any misconception. It is also not the intention of this text to make a reading or interpretation of any scripture or religious knowledge, but simply to compare the popular idea of karma with the law of Action and Reaction as presented in the Spiritist codification.

In this sense, we can define karma as the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. This supposes that future conditions are determined by past actions – a concept we intend to demonstrate not to be the Spiritist understanding.

The Law of Cause and Effect

Now we will present the Law of Cause and Effect from a Spiritist perspective. This matter has been extensively covered by Allan Kardec in the section “Penal Code of Life to Come” of his book “Heaven and Hell”. There, Kardec indicates that:

“Notwithstanding the diversity of the kinds and degrees of suffering which imperfect spirits undergoes, the penal code of the future life may be summed up in the three following propositions:

  1. Suffering is a condition of imperfection.
  2.  All our imperfections and all our misdeeds (which are the practical outcome of those imperfections) find their appropriate and necessary adjustment in their own natural and inevitable consequences – just as every excess is corrected by the malady which is caused by it, and as idleness is corrected by the disgust of life to which it leads – without the need of any special sentence being passed on each particular fault of each individual.
  3. All human beings have the power of freeing themselves from their imperfections through the exertion of their individual wills; all human beings, therefore, are able to avoid the sufferings that are the consequence of those imperfections and to ensure their future happiness.” [2]

We see then a subtle but strikingly different perspective than that offered by the popular view of the Law of Karma. Karma can be understood as the belief that past actions (facts) determine future conditions (states or circumstances). The Law of Cause and Effect as proposed by Allan Kardec based on the teaching of virtuous spirits do not assume this same logical relationship. Instead it proposes that our actions are a reflection of our imperfections and it is the imperfections (not the facts themselves) not corrected in the past that are the cause of future unfortunate conditions (states or circumstances). In other words, a person’s flaws of character caused him/her to make poor choices, actions that simply reflect moral elements of his/her consciousness. As this person dies and reviews his/her life (here understood as a series of choices and actions) from the broader point of view of the non-physical realm, this spirit will understand that certain imperfections of character led it to make certain poor and unfortunate choices. The actions simply evidence the imperfections. Well then, in designing a future existence, this spirit may include physical conditions, certain life circumstances, among other factors that will require it to confront the same moral imperfections which it knows to need betterment. This logic is strikingly different than that of the Law of Karma as it eliminates the element of punishment (for past deeds) and shifts the focus from actions (facts) to states of consciousness. From a rational perspective it also makes more sense as now we have moral conditions (consciousness) determining physical/emotional conditions (circumstances).

The question of number 975 of “The Spirits’ Book” confirms the rationale provided above.

“975. Do inferior spirits understand the happiness of the virtuous?

‘Yes and that happiness is a source of torment for them. They understand that their own deeds deprive them of it. It also leads them to seek a new physical existence to shorten the duration of that torment when death frees them from matter, if good use is made of this existence. It is on this basis that they choose the appropriate trials to atone for their faults. It must be remembered that spirits suffer for all the wrongdoing they have done or which they have been the voluntary cause, all the good that they might have done and did not do, and all the evil that has resulted from failing to do the good they might have done.’ When errant, it is as though a spirit emerges from a fog and sees the obstacles that stand between it and ultimate happiness. Therefore, it suffers more because it understands the full extent of its culpability. There are no more illusions for it. It sees things as they really are.’ ” [3]

 And in the same question, Kardec provides the following comments:

“When errant, a spirit sees all its past lives at a glance and foresees the future promised to it. It understands what it still needs to do to reach that future. It is like a traveler who having reached the top of a hill sees both the road it traveled, and what it still has to travel to reach the end of the journey.” [3]

But these are not the only references that demonstrate the Spiritist understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect, the Spiritist codification contains several references from which a few have been selected  from Kardec’s “Heaven and Hell” to further support the explanations provided to this point:

Every imperfection of the soul produces its own inevitable share of suffering; and every good quality produces, in virtue of the same law, its own natural, certain, share of happiness. The amount of a spirit’s suffering is thus exactly proportioned to the degree of its imperfection; and the amount of a spirit’s happiness is exactly proportioned to the degree of its intellectual and moral advancement.” [2]

“The good, or the evil, that we do is the result of the good or evil qualities possessed by our spirit. Not to do all the good which we have the power to do is evidently the result of imperfection on our part; and, consequently, as every imperfection is a source of suffering, a spirit suffers, not only for all the evil it has done, but also for the good which it might have done, but did not do, during its earthly life.” [2]

“A spirit suffers through the evil that it has done, in order that, its attention being concentrated on the consequences of that evil, the spirit may better understand its imperfections, and be led to amend itself.” [2]

“The duration of a spirit’s correction depending solely on its own delay in working out its own inner reform.” [2]

Now, when things start getting clear and comfortable, it is time to learn some more, right? That’s why  the spirits offer us the following information as further teaching on the “Penal Code of Life to Come”:

“Repentance is the first step towards improvement; but repentance, alone, is not sufficient to deliver the wrongdoer from the consequences of his or her wrongdoing; to effect this result, atonement and reparation are also necessary.  Repentance, atonement, and  reparation are the three conditions necessary for the effacing of a fault and the suppression of its consequences.” [2]

This passage demands additional explanations in light of what has been presented earlier in this article, so let’s cover these new terms in light of what has been described thus far.

What is Repentance

“1002. What happens when individuals acknowledge their faults on their deathbed, however, they do not have time to make amends? Is repentance alone enough in such a case?

‘Repentance accelerates rehabilitation, but it does not absolve it. Don’t they have the whole future ahead, and new opportunities to make amends will always be open to them?’ ” [3]

Repentance is simply a sincere regret. This step then is simply a spirit’s realization of a moral flaw it still needs to rid of. It is an important step towards moral progress, but not the only one. We can understand repentance as the phase when the spirit finally opens its eyes to something neglected until then. We can infer that it starts at the point when a spirit first gain awareness of a moral flaw (leaving the state of  simple and immature regarding the imperfection in question) and is likely to evolve through multiple “iterations” (lives) by which the spirit slowly improves itself. The following passages further clarify this matter:

“Repentance mitigates the sufferings of atonement, because it opens the door to hope and paves the way to rehabilitation; but it is only reparation that, by destroying the cause of our suffering, can annul the suffering which is its effect; the granting of a free pardon to the wrong-doer would be merely the granting of a favor and not an annulling of the cause and consequences of the person’s wrong-doing.

Repentance may begin in the spirit-life or in the life of the flesh, and at any period; if a spirit’s repentance is tardy, it suffers for a longer time.” [2]

“991. What is the consequence of repentance in the spiritual state?

‘The desire for a new incarnation in order to become purified. The spirit perceives the imperfections that deprive it of happiness, and seeks a new existence to be able to make amends for its faults.’ ” (See nos. 332, 975) [3]

“The individual is not simply subordinate to the criterion adopted by the world’s magistrates, who may be seen as skilled surgeons in the treatment or extirpation of social gangrene. Both on and off the earth, the more enlightened the individual, the more responsible he or she becomes through the shackles of his or her own conscience for falling into the thorn bushes of guilt.” [4]

Before we move on, it is worth sharing a passage of Chico Xavier’s book “Thought and Life” which indicates an important complicating factor of the atonement process – we are interconnected and constantly exercising our creative powers.

“The fault committed operates in our mind a state of perturbation which do not simply gather the mad forces of our repentance, but also the waves of grief and accusation of the victim and all of those who associate with the feeling, instituting disharmonies of vast proportions in the centers of the soul, to reverberate on our own instrumentation.” [5]

What is Atonement

“Atonement consists in the sufferings, both physical and moral, that are the results of a spirit’s wrong-doing – whether in the course of the same earthly life in which it has done wrong, or in the phase of spirit-life succeeding it, or in a new earthly life – until all traces of the spirit’s wrong-doing have been effaced.” [2]

Although the term atonement might suggest the idea of punishment, in reality, no punishment understood as the infliction of a penalty as retribution for an offense is involved. Repentance alone doesn’t free up the spirit from a moral flaw; it simply “opens its eyes”. The spirit is still pray of its own imperfections and will naturally suffer its consequences. At this state, the spirit will demonstrate ill tendencies relative to the imperfection(s) in question. It may still make mistakes (wrong-doing, sin, miss the mark, etc.), although sensitive to them – it now knows better, even if intuitively. A classic passage of the bible illustrates what we are talking about here.

“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” [6]

 No wonder the spirit suffers for its present state. It feels regret, perhaps remorse even.  It may wish to go back in time and make different choices. It longs to make amends. We all have been there! And here we must say that no one gets everything right the first time. We first crawl, then we walk, then we run… Nature do not evolve in big loops and this is how we progress as well. So forgive yourself and forgive others. Remorse is never necessary.

“Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning, anyone can start over and make a new ending.” [7]

If in the repentance phase the spirit learned about a flaw of character, it is in the atonement phase that it effects changes to its own moral values by confronting situations in new reincarnations that puts it in direct contact with the moral elements it aims to revise. As it still have imperfections, confusion, suffering and perhaps errors may still certainly come true. However, through its own will and effort, its moral dispositions are slowly perfected; a process Spiritists call inner-reform. The understanding of this broader reality allows us to appreciate the vicissitudes of life, instead of complain about them. No one should consent to suffer, hoping to “resolve” past debts and acting as if it deserves to suffer. The value of atonement is not on itself, but on the direction it provides the spirit to implement inner transformation. The appreciation of vicissitudes we mentioned should be understood as the possibility to face life’s “problems” simply as opportunities to demonstrate solid learning in the realms of justice and charity. In fact, a life without such opportunities might be desirable by some individuals when in the physical realm. However, from the perspective of the spirit, such life would be unproductive and meaningless. “The Spirits’ Book question 988 indicates what we are talking about:

“988. There are individuals whose lives are perfectly calm, who have nothing to do for themselves and are exempt from all worries. Is their good fortune proof that they have nothing to repent from any former existence?

‘Do you know many such people? If you think you do, you are mistaken. Such lives are often only calm on the surface. A spirit may have chosen such a life, but after leaving it, it realizes that it has not helped it move forward, and it regrets the time it has wasted in idleness.’

‘Bear in mind that a spirit can only acquire knowledge and elevation through activity, so if it sleeps without a care in the world, it does not advance. It is as though it (according to your world) needs to work, but goes off for a stroll or goes to bed with the intention of doing nothing. Bear in mind that each of you must answer for voluntary uselessness, and that such uselessness is always lethal to your future happiness. The sum of that happiness is exactly proportionate to the sum of the good that you have done, while the sum of your unhappiness is always proportionate to the sum of the wrongs you have done, and how many you have made unhappy.’ ” [3]

What is Reparation

Reparation consists in doing good to those whom we have wronged. Those who, through lack of power or of will, do not make reparation, in a given life, for the wrongs they have done in that life, will be brought again, in a new earthly life, into contact with the parties they have wronged in that former life, and under conditions which they will themselves have chosen beforehand, and which will have been contrived in such a way as to give them the opportunity of proving their devotion to them, and of enabling them to do them as much good as they formerly did them harm.” [2]

Inserted in a historical religious context that for centuries has overemphasized values of meekness, patience and charity, we might not be used to seeing justice as a regulating factor of cosmic balance. Well, it is through reparation that a spirit finds its enduring freedom and glory. Reparation does not entail suffering, but redemption. A former thief or corrupt man may be a generous medical doctor who brings health to many. This is what we see through the following final excerpt from “Heaven and Hell”:

There are faults of which individuals may be guilty, but which do not cause any direct and personal injury to other people; in such cases, the reparation of a fault is accomplished in one or other of the following ways: – by doing, in a subsequent incarnation, what they ought to have done, but did not do, in a former one, whether by discharging duties which they neglected or did not see to be incumbent on them, or by fulfilling missions which they failed to fulfill in that former life, or by practicing the virtues which are the opposites of the vice in which they then indulged; that is to say, by being humble if they have been haughty; gentle, if they have been harsh; kindly, if they have been unkind; hardworking, if they have been idle; helpful, if they have been useless; temperate, if they have been dissolute; setting a good example, if they have set a bad one; and so on. It is thus that a spirit progresses by turning to profitable account the experiences and the lessons of his past existences.” [2]

References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma

[2] Kardec, Allan. Heaven and Hell.

[3] Kardec, Allan. The Spirits’ Book.

[4] Xavier, Francisco Candido. Action and Reaction.

[5] Xavier, Francisco Candido. Thought and Life.

[6]Holly Bible, Romans 7:19, New international Version.

[7] Quote from Xavier, Francisco Candido.

 

Boundary-less Spiritism and the Spiritual Practice of the New Millennia

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God is not adept of any religion. Nature, both physical and non-physical, is independent of our beliefs and opinions about it. Science and religion are only human interpretations of the laws that govern the universe and our relationship with it as individual consciousnesses. Every law of physics reflect an attempt to interpret the mechanisms of the four-dimensional (3 of space and 1 of time) physical universe, but doesn’t change those mechanisms themselves, neither explore their relation with other neglected dimensions. Similarly, every religion reflect an attempt to interpret the moral and intellectual laws that govern our connection with the creator and (perhaps) with the universe, but such mechanisms are also independent of our interpretations. This has very important consequences that are often ignored or even denied by our society; that is, we must be very careful not to fall into dogmatism.

Now, allow me a parenthesis before I continue discoursing about religion. This parenthesis is about the dogmatism of our sciences. I am not picking on sciences. The point is that when we talk about dogmatism, it is common for people to think it is only something applicable to religion. However, simply put, dogmatism is the imposition (moral or even physically) of a specific belief system as an unquestionable truth. So, when we think about science, we often think about the application of methods or research, checks and balances that guarantee trustworthy results, right? That’s why questioning science is typically a sign of ignorance, lack of education or both. Science can’t be questioned because it works with verifiable results. Well, it happens that as we go down this path we walk a fine line between exploration and dogmatism. For instance, does it follow that verifiable results must always be physical and positivist? In this case, should we even consider psychology and philosophy fields of science? What about all para-psychological phenomena (ESP, materialization,  telekinesis, etc.) which have already been demonstrated multiple (repeated) times under controlled conditions, by multiple people and everywhere in the globe.  Should we simply deny the veracity of observable phenomena as rulers of what is possible and what is not possible in the universe? Shouldn’t we question whether significant scientific advancements cannot be made through research in areas that, for their own non-material nature, cannot be researched through traditional positivist means? Does science really cannot accommodate any flexibility, any adaptability that proves to be adequate for the study of a given subject matter, or natural events happening in dimensions beyond the three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time? With so many signs that indicate the survival of consciousness after physical death, the reality of reincarnation, among others; should we really reject all studies in those areas? With science coming to the conclusion, through its own means, that the observer consciousness can affect the results of an experiment, that there is a non-local space-time reality (entanglement), that matter is just a condensed energy state, etc.; should we really marginalize those research fields likely to drive potential groundbreaking revolutions and place the burden of proving them right (to a large audience already convinced they are wrong) on anyone who with no funding or support decides to study them? Could this be one of the most disguised forms of dogmatism of our present society?

There is a difference between rejection and denial, the latter being the state of our sciences when opting not to honestly and unbiasedly research certain topics. Then, isn’t this denial evidencing a plain and simple dogmatism? Isn’t it what dogmatic people do, to deny anything different than their own viewpoints? Isn’t it a state of mind where anything opposed to a particular paradigm is ruled out? Dogmatism is a state where out of pride and selfishness we want the universe to function according to our own interpretations of it. Therefore, there is a particular way to connect with God, my way! There are particular natural phenomena that can be accepted; those which can currently be “naturally” explained. Anything else should be classified as paranormal, supernatural or simply charlatanism or delusion. Yet, as Allan Kardec, the codifier of Spiritism, pointed out over 150 years ago, if there is an effect, there must be a cause. The talk below from Rupert Sheldrake brilliantly and clearly demonstrates dogmatism in our sciences.

But, going back to religion, it is of utmost importance that we start freeing ourselves up from the boundaries of any particular paradigm for our connection with God and the universe. Every strict religious belief is dogmatic and restrictive by nature. All religions are a step in our spiritual journey towards perfection and communion with God, but at some point we must free our minds of any particular interpretation. A new consciousness level is achieved when we become genuine explorers of the truth, aware of our current inability to grasp all of the laws of the cosmos and operate at a level of perfection that is in full harmony with the divine love. In other words, Earth humanity will raise to a whole new consciousness level when it free itself up from the walls of religions; when it absorb the universal truths contained in every religion and rid them from everything else. Then, all of us will truly be one. We will not be connected by belief-systems or laws that promote mutual respect and good behavior; we will be connected by divine love. We will be immersed in a love that transcends this planet and connects us with God and all of its creation. We will be awake to what we truly are. Then, as Chico Xavier, one of the most remarkable mediums of recent times noted brilliantly in 1971, at the live Brazilian TV audience program Pinga Fogo, “(…) we will understand that we are part of a universal family”. Indeed, we will then understand the true meaning of the bible passage which notes that God’s kingdom has many dwellings (see John 14:2).

In our development process to this new consciousness level, the Spiritist science codified by Allan Kardec, offers a remarkable new paradigm for the study and practice of spirituality in this new millennia. As Kardec himself noted, “Spiritism is not a new religion as some people pretend it to be because they don’t know it, or a new sect that is formed by taking advantage of older ones. It is a purely moral Doctrine with no dogmas and that allows each person the entire freedom of religion since it imposes none. A demonstration of that is the fact that its most enthusiastic followers are among the most devoted Catholics as among Protestant, Jews and Muslims. Spiritism has never advised anyone to change religion or sacrifice their beliefs. It does not really belong to any religion or better still, it is present in all of them.” (Kardec, October of 1861)

The passage above indicates the framework for a conscious spiritual practice which I consider to be in high demand in our world nowadays. It is a framework of curious, unbiased and unpretentious exploration of our relationship with the divine and the universe.  It is critical that we forge adequate perspectives for the advancement of spiritualist sciences; one that do not create boundaries, but eliminate them; one that free our consciousness from the many incarnations in contact with dogmatic belief systems. As a free-thinker and admirer of the Spiritist sciences, among other spiritualist bodies of knowledge, I believe that it is time for us to understand the smallness of all of our religions. In a universe of trillions of stars, all of them with dozens of planets, it is fair for us to ask: how many religions are out there? Do they have a leader, a pope? Then how many popes are out there? Is there a single religion that actually got everything right? Where is it and how can we know? Our communion with ourselves and, in consequence, with our divine nature requires us to free ourselves from the boundaries of paradigms that cannot be confirmed by reason and felt within our hearts. I see a future where religions will be faced as a step in our history towards true spirituality. I see a future where the boundaries between our four-dimensional reality and other unknown time-space dimensions are finally overcome by many. It is with this vision in mind that I write this text inviting my reader to tap into all of the spiritual knowledge at our disposal. The knowledge contained by all religions of all times as well as that which we can access through further exploration. It is in such way that Spiritism becomes a special step for humanity. Rather than think about it as just another religion, we must deeply understand its purpose, from design to its current state, as an anchor for the birth of a renovated humanity in a renovated Earth. In the words of its founder, “Spiritism proclaims freedom of thought as a natural law; calls it to his followers, in the same way for everyone. It respects all sincere faiths and requests reciprocity. From freedom of thought derives the right to self-examination in matters of faith. Spiritism rejects any form of blind faith, because they require men to surrender their own reason; it considers rootless all faiths imposed: Unshakable faith is only one which can confront reason face to face in all epochs of humanity.” (Kardec, Posthumous Works)

We must then, allow it to grow as we grow with it. At the risk of chocking many, I see a future when all religions will be obsolete as we practice not religion, but a true spiritual communion and connection with all there is. I see a future when the word Spiritism will also be obsolete as we no longer need to protect its ideas from foreign ones (which was the initial intention of the neologism). This is because living true spiritual communion and connection with all there is, the truths brought by Spiritism will be known and practiced by all, beyond its boundaries. Could this be a framework for spiritual practice in the New Millennia? It is certain that time will show.

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